Facebook Crashing: Company Loses $150 Billion as User Growth Slows

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For Mark Zuckerberg, it's just about a fifth of his net worth.

Investors were more than a little put out by Facebook execs saying they expect revenue growth to slow as they focus greater attention on user privacy.

Investors were spooked by Facebook's forecast showing that its number of active users is growing less quickly than expected, while the company also took a hit from Europe's new privacy laws. If that holds through Thursday's close, he will slide to sixth place from third on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. While the company posted an earnings beat, revenue was below analysts' guidance as the company raked in $13.23 billion in sales, below the $13.23 billion that analysts were calling for. Facebook suffered a blow in China on Wednesday when regulators there withdrew their approval of a company innovation hub to support local startups, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Facebook Inc.'s scandals are finally hitting the company where it hurts: growth.

Facebook may be heading for its worst day on the markets in its history a day after the company revealed that user growth, amid swirling questions about how their information is used, has slowed.

While Facebook's daily active user (DAU) rates were actually up by 11 percent, that number represents global users, and CNBC reports it was less than the margin that Wall Street had presumed.

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Facebook has shown that it can not sail forever forward while facing various storms, including Cambridge Analytica and the Russian government's use of the social media platform to sow divisions amongst Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"It wouldn't be surprising if a couple million very irritated Brits left Facebook", says Brian Wieser, analyst with Pivotal Research.

The drop in European visitors was potentially due to the continuous revelations highlighted there about Facebook's breaches and weaknesses, and the implementation of the European Union and related entities' General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in late May.

"With stagnating core user growth, we think there is too much near- to mid-term uncertainty to recommend shares at this point", Japanese investment bank Nomura said.

Its shares jumped to a new record after it reported that its quarterly profit soared past US$2b, trumping analysts' expectations, as its online shopping, cloud computing and advertising businesses continued to grow.

Some analysts, however, believe it's more than that. All users had to affirm consent to its data collection practices before being allowed to continue to use Facebook. The company said headcount was 30,275 as of June 30 - an increase of 47 percent year over year.

Facebook's Grim Forecast: Privacy Push Will Erode Profits For Years
Wall Street didn't take too kindly to that: Facebook's stock price dropped almost 20 percent in after-hours trading. Total expenses in the second quarter surged to $US7.4 billion, up 50 per cent compared with a year ago.

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